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Survey: Love Conquers All? 1 in 5 Would Marry Someone With an Extremely Low Credit Score

How important is it that your significant other has a good credit score or is savvy with money? It’s no secret that roughly half of U.S. marriages end in divorce, and that money is commonly cited as the cause for the split.

With this in mind, Credit Sesame polled 2,000 consumers with the goal of finding out whether a bad credit score could be a deal-breaker when it comes to a serious relationship. We posed a single question:

The question conveyed an extreme situation: a partner who not only has a low credit score, but also has no intention of working towards improving it, either.

Could love conquer bad debt management habits, tough financial situations, unwillingness to improve one’s financial future, or all of the above?

  • For more than a quarter of survey respondents, 26% or one in five, actually said yes!
  • While the vast majority of people – 72% – seem to draw a line at an extremely low — and no interest in improving it — score, it is still quite a shock to see that one in five people are actually OK with that.

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Let’s see how results break down based on people’s gender, age, income, and where they live:

Are Men More Forgiving Than Women?

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When it comes to how men view the situation compared with women, it seems that men are somewhat more accepting of a low credit score than women:

  • 29% of male respondents answered yes and 69% said no
  • 24% of women said yes and 73% no

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/search/love?photo=K11CdC7LoaU

One possible reason men may be more forgiving than women is because they make more money. A higher income may correlated with viewing oneself as the potential breadwinner in the family. Perhaps men think their partner’s credit score would not really impact the couple’s finances. While this might be the case if all financial accounts are kept completely separate, but if they ever plan on applying for a mortgage, car loan, or any other secured or unsecured debt together, both applicants’ credit scores will impact the loan’s interest rate, and approval for the loan in the first place.

Wealth — or the Lack thereof — Makes a Difference

V-Day Survey Income.001

When we look at the survey respondents by income, it appears that those who either earn a lot ($150,000+) or very little (up to $24,000) seem to be most willing to compromise bad credit for love.

More than a third of $150,000+ earners are willing to marry or live with a partner with bad credit, as well as 31% of those who earn $24,999 or less a year.

Wiser with age?

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Either older generations know something or they are simply wiser when it comes to money: older people are more likely to say no to marriage or cohabitation with a credit “loser” than young people. Here are the results:

  • 62% of those 25 to 34-year olds
  • 78% of respondents who are 55 years old or older

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  • 34% of those aged 25 to 34 said yes to being with a mate with a low score, along with…
  • 20% for those aged 55+

‘Sad reason for basing a marriage decision’

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/search/retirement?photo=ULz8ELesYBM

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/search/retirement?photo=ULz8ELesYBM

Whether bad credit could be a show-stopper on a marriage is a question that seemed to elicit firm yes or no reactions:

Only 2% of respondents selected “Other” for their answer

The most common reason why (we required a text-based explanation if that option was elected) was “Maybe” — indeed, it can be a complicated issue.

One single answer, however, stood out: “Sad reason for basing a marriage decision.”

Is that really so? Considering that study after study finds money to be the leading cause of stress in a relationship, it might be worth taking finances more seriously before heading to the altar. How would you respond? Tweet us your answer @CreditSesame with a link to this story!

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved.
Published February 10, 2017 Updated: February 13, 2017
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